Since the 1980s, railroad abandonment rates have escalated in the United States. Of greater significance, public officials and community leaders have often associated its occurrence with urban blight, de-industrialization, and depressed commercial activity. While some academic research has forecasted these effects, other studies have concluded that their severity was far less pronounced, and some areas exhibited urban renewal. Given the absence of a clear academic consensus on the effects of urban railroad abandonment, this study tested an argument that it stimulates urban renewal by releasing urban property for new development, and influences redevelopment in adjacent areas, thus contributing to revitalization. The Burbank Branch line, located in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, was examined as a case study. In two out of three regional cities, compelling spatial and statistical evidence was found to conclude that railroad abandonment served as a catalyst to accelerate already-occurring urban renewal adjacent to that right-of-way.


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pp. 196-230
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